Podcasting has the potential to create new and lucrative revenue streams for media owners, according to John Hirst, head of global content and podcasts with the UK’s Global Radio group, which in its latest financial year (which ends this month) generated an income of £1m sterling from this channel alone. It also offers big opportunities for brands that want to engage in a more meaningful way with consumers.
Hirst (pictured), who was in Dublin to address the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland Annual Conference, told businessandleadership.com that the group – which has stations and hubs in 60 locations in the UK, some 18 million listeners and a number of household-name brands, including Capital Radio, Classic FM and LBC – has been involved in podcasting, and indeed vodcasting, for the past four years. After spending a year in the planning stages, the group had £40,000 sterling in sales in the second year and £450,000 sterling in year three. “This is a very valuable additional source of revenue, and it is growing significantly at present,” he said.
While podcasting has a natural kinship with radio, Hirst does not believe it is limited to this medium. “We’re finding that we’re starting to compete in that field with other media – press in general, publishers of books, but also non-media companies. Gadget companies or scientific companies, for example, might also publish content. For us, we’re leading the way in the UK, along with the BBC, but it’s opened up a field for lots of other media and general people to publish their own content.”
Being able to actually generate revenue from this channel will depend on the company’s existing resources, according to Hirst. “If it’s a newspaper that currently has revenue streams, it would sell advertising onto the podcast in the same way as we would. It would be an extension to what it sells in its newspapers. For an individual or company that isn’t set up for media sales, it’s more difficult. I can see a time in the future where you might have an individual sales house representing whole groups of companies or individuals who publish podcasts."
Pictured: John Hirst,head of global content and podcasts with the UK’s Global Radio group
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